Leveraging Social Media Skills
Social media has come a long way within government agencies. Two years ago, 55 percent of agencies blocked social media sites and that is down to 19 percent today with some room for improvement. This session provided an overview of the value of digital media, its uses, trends, tips and a discussion around a controversial article.
Panelists talked about how government agencies can harness the power of social media to reach a large audience and improve communications in an era of high expectations and complexity. Social media can spark discussions, enable collaboration, improve communication, and promote government services. Technology can make a tangible difference for individuals and social media managers need to understand how to make the best use of these technologies. It’s important to think about how these tools can support toward the Digital Government Strategy, launched two months ago which calls for government services to go mobile whenever possible.
The Digital Services Innovation Center recently launched to ensure agencies are using emerging technologies to deliver services and information “anywhere, anytime and on any device”. The center aims to improve services offered through the web and mobile devices.
Major trends in government social media use include increasing transparency and citizen engagement, providing content that humanizes government, enabling crisis management and real-time responses to problems.
Panelists also provided some tips for social media managers. One is COPE: create once, publish everywhere. Social media managers can reach many people using different channels and automating these efforts through services such as GovDelivery, which makes re-publishing efficient. Other resources include Hootsuite and ping.com. It’s important to not forget the target audience though.
Other tips are prioritizing efforts and leverage existing resources. Howto.gov offers best practices, tools, and training for social media and web content. Also, remember to use GovLoop to share knowledge and continue conversations around this topic.
One of the challenges to using social media within the federal government is that many social media platforms’ terms of service are not compatible with government agencies. Howto.gov provides social media managers with TOS that would work so it’s important to use these resources. Don’t forget to register your accounts with the Social Media Registry so they are acknowledged as an official platform.
Other resources include the OMB MAX wiki where you can find a community of practice and Challenge.gov which provides agencies the opportunity to seek solutions from the public. Howto.gov provides guides on using this resource.
The keys to being successful in social media include sparking a discussion, providing users a reason to belong, posting regularly, and setting goals and reassessing. It’s important to measure success with meaningful metrics and not just how many people like a piece but also whether they are getting what they need from it.
The session concluded with lively discussion around the article, Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25. It was posted only six days ago and has sparked quite a debate around the internet. Whether you agree with it or not, the author has managed to spark a discussion at a level some social media managers can only hope to achieve—minus the controversy.
**Update** Here is a link to the presentation
Joseph Porcelli, Director, GovDelivery & GovLoop Engagement Services
Lauren Modeen, Engagement Specialist, GovDelivery & GovLoop Engagement Services
Betsy Steele, New Media Manager GSA Center for Excellence in Digital Gov’t